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Abdominal Hematoma Following a Car Accident

Abdominal Hematoma Following a Car Accident

A variety of traumatic injuries can occur in a car accident. Some of these injuries can result from another vehicle, damage to the driver's car, or even from improper use of a seat belt. There are numerous organs in the abdomen, such as the liverspleen, and stomach, that might be injured in a car accident. While many people are concerned with bleeding into the external environment, it is also possible to bleed internally, a condition called an abdominal hematoma.

Abdominal hematoma is a serious injury that can lead to life-long complications. If you or a family member has suffered abdominal injuries in an accident as a result of someone else's carelessness, you may be entitled to compensation. Call our injury lawyers for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400. Our experienced attorneys can gather the evidence you need to obtain the full compensation you deserve.

Table of Contents

What is an Abdominal Hematoma?

The abdomen is a large cavity that can hold multiple liters of blood. Therefore, it is possible for patients to bleed to death if they are losing blood into their abdominal cavity. If blood starts to leak out from the blood vessels into an abdominal organ or wall of the abdomen itself, it can form a pocket. This pocket of blood is termed an abdominal hematoma and must be diagnosed and treated quickly before a patient can lose too much blood. Sometimes, an abdominal hematoma can be missed, leading to dire consequences for the patient. A recent case of a delayed abdominal hematoma development and diagnosis following an auto accident was published in the medical literature.

Involved in a Car Accident

The patient described in the case report was a middle-aged female who was involved in a car accident. The accident was serious enough for the patient to be hospitalized with multiple injuries. She underwent a procedure called an exploratory laparotomy which is used to diagnose and treat injuries that are causing serious symptoms but may not be visible on imaging or to the naked eye. During this procedure, she was diagnosed with a hematoma. This injury was treated with fluid resuscitation and rest, the proper treatment for a hematoma that isn't significant in size or growth. The patient was then discharged home with instructions to avoid strenuous activity until the symptoms subsided. The patient was also instructed to follow-up if the symptoms worsened or changed significantly in any way.

A Visit to the ER

Around five months later, the patient returned to the emergency department with complaints of swelling in her groin region. The symptoms were similar to that of an inguinal hernia, where an organ or loop of bowel protrudes from the lining of the pelvis. This can be a serious injury if the bowel is constricted by the fascia of the pelvis because this can lead to necrosis and death of the tissue. When the patient had a physical exam completed in the ER, the team decided to order an MRI to get a better look at what was happening in the suspected hernia location. To the surprise of the medical team, the MRI revealed a significant abdominal hematoma that was likely the growth of the earlier abdominal hematoma that was not completely treated. The patient was taken to the operating room for treatment of her abdominal hematoma, which was identified to be free blood that had not yet clotted. Fortunately, the swelling was not large enough for the patient to bleed to death. The patient did well after the operation and she was sent home about a week after the procedure.

Significance of the Study

This case report is essential because it highlights the importance of proper follow-up after an auto accident. This patient was bleeding internally immediately afterward, as seen on the laparotomy. They were then sent home with conservative management as the abdominal hematoma started to fade. Unfortunately, it started to grow in size and wasn't seen until it was the size of a typical inguinal hernia. Fortunately, the injury was caught before the patient lost too much blood or started to have damage to internal organs. It is possible for internal bleeding to cause other organs to suffer or for the patient to lose so much blood that they could require a blood transfusion. In the future, patients should always make sure that they have appropriate follow-up following a car accident, particularly if they sustained injuries in the event. It is important for medical professionals to always remain aware of the complications that could develop after a serious injury. Patients who incur high financial costs due to an injury in an auto accident should be sure to contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Sacramento to learn about their options.

Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney. If you've been injured in an accident, call me for free, friendly advice at 916.921.6400.

We are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

See our case history of verdicts and settlements and our client reviews on GoogleYelp, and AVVO.

Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 2.7.20]

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